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Scenic Short Road Trip - Auckland to Hokianga Harbour

Trip Overview

Places to visit and where to go

DURATION

One night, two days short break.

Each journey can be linked to a comprehensive loop trip around the top of the North Island, NZ. 

 

 

BEST TIME TO GO (NORTHLAND)

November to mid-April (while the winterless North is unlikely to experience low temperatures and frost Northland can have periods of extensive rain in winter (April to September).


Duration: 2 days
Start Auckland
Finish Hokianga
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TIP                

Combine scenic highlights with visits to heritage places such as Footsteps of Kupe and Waipoua forest trails listening to Maori guides elaborate traditional values and their relationship with the forest.

 

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DRIVING TIMES

2 hours or less for each section (between 165 km – 195 km)

This route follows the classic Top of New Zealand road trip, Twin Coast Discovery, Northland. The trip is now divided into sections for ease of use.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN CONSERVATION PROGRAMMES & PLACES TO VISIT?

In Northland there are a number of successful conservation projects welcoming visitors.

 

DAY 1

KAIPARA COAST PLANT CENTRE & SCULPTURE WALK

TIP

Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Walk is part of Auckland day trip to Kaipara Harbour.

 

INTERESTING FACT

The beautiful remote Omamari beach is the site of the only, and still unconfirmed, wreckage of the SS Turakina, which was destroyed in a gunbattle with the German gunboat the Orion in the Tasman Sea in August 1940.

The Lakes and their catchments have high ecological value with the presence of several threatened species of flora and fauna. Native algae, aquatic plants and fish species are part of the habitat, including endangered dune lake galaxiids, which are unique to the lakes.

Lake Taharoa has the deepest growing submerged vegetation in the North Island, at 24m. Many fish and water birds use the surrounding reed beds, wetlands and open water… Kai Iwi Lakes – Northland Regional Council

NZ is where nature has formed a dune lake within the aid of a river. Water collects in sand depressions where there is a firm underlying strata of impermeable ironstone pans. The sand has effectively created a cement pool which traps rainwater. 

The Kai Iwi Northland Lakes were formed in the ancient Pleistocene era. Dune lakes are precious rare ecosystems with often flora and fauna unique to a single ecosystem. They are usually shallow and irregular in shape. While the bodies of water are mostly permanent due to their position close to the ocean water levels can be influenced by the tide.

WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Kauri Museum visit including excellent gift shop
  • Heritage rose collection surrounding 19th century church
  • Kauri Bushmans Reserve walk

 

 

DAY 2

Northland where geology and history have woven together the story of Aotearoa New Zealand. Enjoy exploring hidden gems on the East Coast of Northland and discover the beautiful Hokianga Harbour where people (Kupe) first landed. 

TOP SIGHTS:

  • Majestic ancient Waipoua Kauri Forest
  • Towering golden sand dunes brushing agains the blue Hokianga Harbour water
  • Mangroves and extraordinary Koutu boulder formations

 

TIP

Waipoua Forest. Remember to check the website for updates on Kauri dieback disease which is limiting access to walks and tramping tracks.

 

Recommended Tours | Footprints Waipoua. Join the twilight tour. 

  • Witness forest transition from day to night
  • Meet the oldest and largest Kauri trees in the world.
  • Giant trees include ​Te Matua Ngāhere & Tane Mahuta
  • Minimum 2 guests
INTERESTING FACT

The grey mangrove can experience stunted growth in water conditions that are too saline, but thrive to their full height in waters where both salt and fresh water are present. The species can tolerate high salinity by excreting salts through its leaves.

TIP

Examine the underside of the leaves looking for salt extractions.

WHERE TO STAY

OMPARE / OPONONI / RAWENE

Hokianga is an underdeveloped tourist destination without the flush of motels lining the small settlements. The Hokianga has a number of airBNB options however camping grounds are few and far between. There is plenty of choice from rivers to beaches, from holiday parks to rustic classic campsites where there is not much except Northland’s spectacular charms.

 

The Postmasters Lodgings, Rawene, Hokianga, North Island

Beautifully decorated with eclectic furniture ranging from full blown ornate Victoriana to early 20th century adds a gloss to the sense of stepping into the catalogue of a bygone period.

A classic bed and breakfast with panoramic views of Rawene, Hokianga harbour and town activities.

 

  • Scenic Northland journey –  Rawene to Cape Reinga, a two day excursion.
  • Continue onto to Mangaoni fish n chips by the sea.

This road trip is part of the scenic journeys beyond Auckland to the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand exploring both the west and east coast of scenic Northland.

 

AFFILIATE PARTNER STATEMENT
Our editors independently visit tour operators, purchase tickets, pay for accommodation, and rate products and places. We are not paid to go on a tour or visit a place. We only make money if you decide to purchase a product through our website links. We promise to never accept free products from manufacturers in return for boosting their products. Read more about our affiliate programme in the terms and conditions HERE.

 

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

Best Bits travel guide is published by nzjane.com. Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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